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Hargreaves Lansdown drops Woodford from influential list

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Hargreaves Lansdown has removed Woodford Equity Income from its influential Wealth 50 recommended list after dealing in the fund was suspended.

The group also removed the Woodford Income Focus fund.

Hargreaves Lansdown clients have been major supporters of the funds: according to the most recent set of accounts, Hargreaves Lansdown holds 31% of the Equity Income fund at 31 December 2018 and 62% of the Income Focus fund.

Dealing in the Woodford Equity Income Fund was suspended yesterday. Investors won’t be able to buy or sell units in the fund for at least 28 days.

The fund has fallen in size over the last year, due to poor performance and investor outflows. The fund size is currently £3.7 billion, down from £6.8 billion a year ago.

The decision to suspend the fund is designed to protect existing investors in the fund. Significant falls in the size of a fund can jeopardise the ability of a manager to run the fund effectively, meaning they may have to sell holdings to meet redemptions. Suspensions only tend to be used at times of significant distress – they were used for commercial property funds in the wake of the Brexit vote, for example.

The Wealth 50 is Hargreaves Lansdown’s shortlist of its experts’ favourite funds. It looks for ‘a distinguished career’, ‘a fantastic track record’ and a robust process.

Emma Wall, head of investment analysis at Hargreaves Lansdown said: “The suspension follows a period of underperformance and outflows for the Woodford Equity Income Fund. We are advocates of long-term investing and think Woodford’s multi-decade track record remains compelling – but we don’t underestimate the disappointment investors must feel with Woodford’s recent performance.

“Because the fund has been suspended we’ve removed it from our Wealth 50 list of favourite funds. We have also removed the Woodford Income Focus Fund, as we would prefer to see a resolution to the dealing suspension before we conduct a review.”

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